On Thursday, I sat down with my nutritionist to discuss my progress and moving up to a soft foods diet. After six weeks of liquids, primarily protein shakes and water, I was eager to see how my body had changed since December 2, just before starting the liquid diet.
I wasn’t eager for what I believed the soft food diet to be, based upon some examples given to me in pre-op appointments. The only items on the list that seemed tolerable were hummus, tuna and low-fat, plain Greek yogurt. I figured that I would continue to gain most of my nutrition from the liquids I had grown so accustomed to.
In a sick way, I had reservations about discontinuing the liquid diet at all. Despite being in “starvation mode”, I had lost a considerable amount of weight in a month’s time. It was enough weight to make me feel better, and to make exercise much easier. Besides, food had been a bad relationship– it was fun and I enjoyed it, but it had taken a terrible toll on my body. I didn’t feel ready to go back.
When I signed in, I was excited to see my progress broken down into different body metrics. I knew from my scale at home that I was down more than 50 lbs (now 59.5), and I was eager to see how much had been fat and muscle– not just a scale number, but the way my body composition itself had changed. I was positively giddy. I was taken back to the scale by the only cheerless medical assistant in the whole practice (generally an extremely very friendly office), and she spared no time getting down to business.
A couple of weeks earlier, I had called the office to see if they could weigh me to see how I was doing, and they said it would be fine. I have a very good scale, but wanted to see the full breakdown. I drove for 30 minutes, and arrived to have her put me on the scale and give me a weight. “We won’t bother with the whole printout,” she told me. I gently pressed her. “Can we? I have a scale– I just wanted to see if I’m maintaining my muscle, and how I’m doing.”
“We only really do that for appointments now,” she said. She ushered me out the door.
Here we found ourselves again. “Take off your shoes and stand on the scale when I tell you to.” I obeyed. She looked at the screen, at numbers I couldn’t see. “You’re down 18 lbs. in the last 4 weeks.”
My jaw dropped.
“What?” I asked her. “That’s… that’s not even possible. Not even remotely possible.”
“It says 18 lbs,” she demanded.
“Can I see the printout? I really can’t see how…”
“Your nutritionist can discuss it with you,” she said, and unceremoniously lead me to one of the exam rooms.
I was heartbroken. Had she mistaken kilograms for pounds, or done the math incorrectly in her obvious haste and apathy? Was it possible that it was the number I’d been given two weeks before? Or was I really that far off? Had I only lost 18 lbs. after everything I had subjected myself to? Was I just destined to lose this weight slowly, if at all? If so, why had I even gone through with this life-altering procedure?
After a few miserable minutes, my nutritionist came in. “How are you doing?” she asked me.
“I was better before I weighed in,” I told her.
“Your progress has been great!” she told me. “You’re down more than 40 lbs. in a month!”
Hope. Oh, thank God.
At my request, she got the printout of my body composition, and my stats were good. She told me to weigh myself no more than once a week, I guess beginning to see what I’ve already noticed myself: the pathology. I’m in a weight loss stall right now (what many people who have had the surgery have commonly referred to as the “3-week stall”.) I understand that it’s part of the process, but it’s difficult to watch small plateaus and fluctuations in real time without getting discouraged. I’m still a bit of a slave to numbers, but when the scale doesn’t move, I find reassurance in my measurements and how my clothes fit.
I was put on the soft foods diet, which really only limits me from food I shouldn’t have anyway (bread, sweets, etc), tough meats, and raw vegetables. I was relieved to hear it, and went out and bought what I figured to be a week’s worth of groceries: a convenient roaster chicken, tuna, salmon, and ground turkey (etc.), totalling a mere $23. It still sits largely untouched in my fridge.
I have had no hunger, but I was told to try to get 1,000-1,200 calories per day, 60-80 grams of protein, and most of my nutrition from food. Right now, the thought is laughable. The first night, I made myself 2 ounces of tuna in a lettuce leaf (approved food). I went extremely slowly.
I could handle about three bites.
I ate four.
The difference between almost full and painfully overstuffed is less than a bite now. I felt almost immediately as if I had just finished Thanksgiving dinner, twice.
For the last few days, I’ve struggled to get any food in. It took 16 hours to finish four ounces of chicken in two lettuce leaves the other day. Yesterday, I drank protein shakes and ate a piece of low-fat string cheese, which was perfect. I had about an ounce of tomato sauce with meat, but bored of it quickly.
Despite the “malnutrition” of my protein shake diet, my hemoglobin was more than sufficient to give blood yesterday, and I had no problems, no lightheadedness, nothing negative. My vitals have been textbook, and my energy has been high. My hydration is good. I’d like to be able to eat 4 ounces 6 times per day as prescribed, but that isn’t where I am. After two days of force-feeding myself (so counter-intuitive for someone who has been overweight for the better part of their life), I decided to take things at my own pace. I finally understand the picky eaters I was always jealous of, and it is a challenge. My stats are great, though, and I’m just going to do my best and listen to my body.
It’s about damn time.
Instead of posting my progress on Monday, I’m lumping it all in today. The highlight reel:
Overall pounds down: 59.5
Overall inches lost (from Dec. 5): 90″
- Bust: -5″
- Waist: -7.5″
- Low hips: -11″
- Midsection: -12″
- Upper arms (total): -8″
- Thighs (total): -18″
- Forearms (total): -4.5″
- Calves (total): -11.5″
- Shoulders: -10″
- Neck: -2.5″
Of the 59.5 lbs lost, only 4.4 lbs were from muscle mass.
My BMI has dropped by 5.6.
My visceral fat rating is down 4 points.
Degree obesity: down 25.7%
Body fat percentage: down 2.9%